Facebook Announces Plans to Monetize Your Loneliness

Image: Facebook

Facebook is a data collection service branded as a social media platform that is potentially wiretapping you via smartphone speaker right this second. So it stands to reason the corporation that most likely knows exactly when you’re single, about to be single, or simply thinking about cheating by the amount of time you spend looking up your high school crushes at 4 A.M. would be keen on using that data to recoup some of the $123 billion the company lost in value in 2018.

Enter Facebook Dating, which launched on September 5 and will require those interested to make a profile separate from their main Facebook account used exclusively for finding nearby Facebook users who might like to bone, which the company is probably hoping will win back some of the 15 million users who bailed in 2019.

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But instead of relying on swipes like Tinder or Bumble, Facebook Dating uses an algorithm to match users based on “preferences, interests, and other things you do on Facebook.” So does this mean that if you spend the majority of your time on Facebook posting Snopes.com links in the comments of your Alex Jones-loving cousin’s updates, perhaps Facebook will suggest other fact-loving users with terrible family members? No! Taking away those swipes seems like a probable clusterfuck of hateful comments:

“Facebook Dating isn’t about swiping or having to wait for someone to like you to get a first chance at reaching out. If you are interested in someone, you can comment directly on their profile or tap on the Like button to let them know. If you aren’t interested, you can pass on them.”

And while the app won’t show your profile to anyone on your friend list, there will be a “Secret Crush” option that allows users to compose a list of up to ten people from their friends or Instagram followers that they would bang. If there are any connections, Facebook reveals the match, gameshow style.

But the question remains: will all of those unhappily marrieds with the weird joint accounts be able to use Facebook dating to see if that girl who sat behind them in sociology back in 2004 might be down to clown? And if so, will that affect the ads in their main account’s newsfeed? The privacy policy announcement for Dating says “Your Dating activity, such as the people you pass on, won’t be shared with anyone outside of Dating,” But there’s nothing in the announcement about allowing advertisers to target your main account via your dating app data. So it’s possible that the spouse of a partner looking to cheat could get targeted with ads for say, one-bedroom apartments. Nor does the company specify any ways in which it might protect its less tech-savvy elderly audiences from being exploited by bots and scammers via the app.

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If Facebook’s past handling of sensitive user information is any indication, the platform is surely on course to revolutionize relationships in the same manner it did elections.

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